Adventure is a progressive rock project spearheaded by Terje Flessen (guitars/bass) and Odd Roar Blakken (keyboards/acoustic guitar) back in the 1990's in an attempt to bring back the symphonic and hard rock sounds of classic 70's bands. After releasing their self-titled debut a few years back, the duo are back with Beacon of Light on Progress Records, an epic sounding new release that should please those into bombastic, hard rocking prog rock music. Joining the duo are a host of guest singers and drummers, giving Beacon of Light a sort of prog-rock opera feel not unlike acts such as Ayreon, Roswell Six, and the like.
The press sheet that came with this release brings up such names as Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, Camel, ELP, and Trace, and those are good comparisons, though I wouldn't say that Adventure are really mimicking any of them too closely. The hard rocking riffs, the classic keyboard sounds, the occasional flute, all these elements are things that vintage prog & hard rock fans love, and Adventure bring them to the forefront here. Opening suite "Something to Believe In" is a real slice of bombast, the lead vocals of Vebjorn Moen husky and thick (though they might be a tad over the top and overly dramatic for some) while plenty of thunderous guitar riffs and vintage keyboard sounds explode around the mix. Lyrically, this one's about the belief in a higher power, and the internal battles that all humans have when it comes to balancing good and evil. The third movement of this piece sees all the epic sounds move into a more tranquil state, as acoustic guitar and synths take on a more somber tone, making for a very well rounded 18 minutes of music. Other highlights here include the dreamy 'The Swan", a real Camel & Uriah Heep influenced number with haunting vocals by Henning Mjoen and lots of heavy as well as pastoral sections, the 2-part epic "A Crack In the Ice", which mixes heavy rock with Camel styled melodic prog, the lush, almost White Willow-ish "Emilie's Piece (featuring some lovely flute and acoustic guitar), the Hammond & guitar drenched "Fragile Frame", and the extended 4 part finale "Beacon of Light". The latter should be a favorite of vintage prog lovers, as it comes complete with plenty of assorted keyboard sounds from Odd Roar Bakken and Flessen's mix of heavy riffs, tasty solos, and lush acoustic strumming. Moen returns on this epic to add his powerful, bombastic vocal delivery.
Beacon of Light will prove to be a big hit for unsuspecting prog fans here in 2009. Not only does this CD contain some magnificent playing, but the lyrics, dealing with religion, racism, global warming, war, and narcissism, prove to be very relevant in these troublesome times. Seek this one out folks!
1) Something to Believe In Part 1
2) Something to Believe In Part 2
3) Something to Believe In Part 3
4) The Swan
5) A Crack In the Ice? Part 1
6) A Crack In the Ice? Part 2
7) Emilie's Piece
8) Fragile Frame
9) Joybringer (For Gorm)
10) Beacon of Light-Part 1
11) Beacon of Light-Part 2
12) Beacon of Light-Part 3
13) Beacon of Light-Part 4